Solar technology has been around since the 1860s but it has taken more than 100 years for it to reach a wider consumer base. Why is this? For one thing, solar power systems are much more affordable today than they were twenty years ago thanks to cheaper and more effective components. For another, more certified solar installation companies have entered the alternative energy market. And finally, the government is increasingly collaborating with business owners to make solar installation easy.
Still, the decision to go solar requires a good bit of consideration because it’s an investment that can have a significant impact on your business. If you’re contemplating adopting this alternative energy solution, we’ve got some helpful tips on making the switch. This guide is meant to get your business prepped so you can reap the full benefits of going solar.
Transitioning to solar energy is one of the most beneficial things you’ll ever do for your business. Not only can it keep the rising cost of electricity down (fun fact: solar energy is now cheaper than fossil fuels), but it’s also a great opportunity to improve your green image, while boosting your competitive advantage during load shedding.
Enabling your businesses to run smoothly when there’s a power outage is perhaps the biggest advantage of installing solar. It provides peace of mind that your physical security (access control and security cameras) isn’t compromised and that your electrical devices such as computers and wireless internet routers are always powered on for maximum office productivity.
There are two types of solar solutions: grid tied and off grid Solar PV. A grid-tied solar system consists of a panel and grid-tied inverter that sources and feeds power directly into a utility meter. An off-grid solar system is not connected to the national power grid and is dependent only on a solar panel and battery bank to generate and store electricity.
It’s important that your roof is in good shape before you install solar panels. So if you’re seriously contemplating going solar, now is the best time to also start thinking about roof replacements or repair. Paying attention to any structural defects or damage now will keep you from having to remove and reinstall the panel prematurely, which can be challenging and expensive.
Don’t overlook the ways the environment can impact your investment. Environmental risks can be things like nearby trees and buildings that block sun exposure. Or, they can be extreme weather conditions like hail and lightning, which may damage some solar components. Check that your building has a good enough “solar” window to make the cost of the panels worthwhile. If you live in an area frequented by severe weather, be sure the supplier you choose provides durable, high quality solar solutions.
If your business is in good financial standing, it may make sense to use your cash reserves to buy your solar panels upfront. However, if you don’t have available capital, you can apply for a solar loan to finance the purchase. Several South African banks as well as independent money lenders offer a wide variety of funding options for buying your solar panels and installation. You can also look into renting the solar equipment from a supplier who may or may not require a leasing deposit, then install and maintain the solar systems for you.
Before installing your solar panels, definitely read all the guidelines, rules, and regulations set forth by your local municipality and insurance company. For example, the City of Cape Town requires businesses to obtain written approval before installing grid-tied systems. You should also check with your insurance company how the solar installation and roof alterations will affect your business insurance policy.
These are some of the different factors which you need to consider when installing solar panels. Only when you take into account these factors, will it become easy for you to make the right buying decision. The provider will also provide support and guidance on things like sun exposure, access issues and roof conditions.